Friday, October 28, 2011

The Rum Diary

My View:  The Rum Diary  (2011)   Based on the book by “Gonzo Journalist” Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp plays a failed novelist who moves to Puerto Rico to work at a local newspaper.  The newspaper is staffed by hard-drinking, jaded men, so Depp’s character fits in nicely.  To earn money, Depp begins working for a shady publicist (played by Aaron Eckhart) who is trying to push a land deal.  Depp instantly falls in love with the publicist’s fiancĂ©e (played by the stunning Amber Heard) against the advice of his best friend, the newspaper photographer (played by Michael Rispoli).  While I enjoyed Depp’s performance, and this is certainly the best adaptation of a Thompson book, the film is too long (buy the big bag of popcorn - you’re going to need it) and has almost a disjointed feeling to it, as if the filmmakers couldn’t decide if the film was a comedy or a drama.  There are a few very funny scenes, including a couple of amusing car chases, but overall, the film can't match the wit and wisdom of the writer Depp is playing, Hunter S. Thompson.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Rum Diary Website
Indyfest (A Look at a Small, Indie or Foreign Film):  The Mighty Macs  (2011)  Based on a true story, Carla Gugino (Mr. Popper’s Penguins) plays a recently hired women’s basketball coach at a small, all-woman’s Catholic college. It’s 1971, and the NCCA conducts its first woman’s championship.  Gugino takes on a team who doesn’t even have a gym to practice in and teaches the young women how to win.  While a little smaltzy (the film often goes for the heartstrings when it should back down a little), I highly recommend this film for young girls.  The film’s message to girls:  If you believe in yourself, you can do anything.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Mighty Macs Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time):
#32  Best Film
To Kill A Mockingbird  (1962)   Based on the Harper Lee novel of the same name, this magnificent film is one of the best adaptations ever done.  In his Oscar-winning  role, Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch, a widowed father  of two kids, younger sister, Scout, and her older brother, Jem, whom he raises in a small southern town in the 1930’s.  Peck is hired to defend a black man who is accused of raping a white girl.  The film brilliantly captures small town life and the innocence of children, who soon discover their father is a man of great conviction and courage.  Peck gives a profound performance, probably his best role ever, and screenwriter Horton Foote does the impossible - brings to the screen the exact feel and wonder of the book.    To Kill a Mockingbird Info
Forgotten Film:  The Omega Man (1971)  Before Will Smith (I, Robot and I Am Legend) and Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds), there was Charlton Heston, who saved the human race from Apocalyptic times in films such as Soylent Green and Planet of the Apes.  In this film, Heston plays a scientist who is the last human on earth, as the rest of the world has either died from a plague or become a sort of zombie/vampire and part of a cult called, “The Family.”  Heston uses his wit, electricity (the Family is nocturnal and sensitive to light) and a whole lot of guns to battle the bad guys.  Heston overacts in this film, but it’s so much fun when he delivers certain lines such as (right after crashing a car), “There’s never a cop around when you need one.”  This is a perfect film to watch late night, especially during Halloween.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    The Omega Man Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Captain America: The First Avenger   I really liked this film and thought it was one of the better super hero films of the summer.  It tells the origins of Captain America (played by Chris Evens) who goes from a 4-F runt of a man, is injected by the government with some sort of super serum and becomes a fighting machine.  A smashing story-line, rousing special effects and a love interest for the Captain in Hayley Atwell made it a fine setup to next year’s release of Joss Whedon’s, The Avengers.   My Rating: Full Price   Captain America Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  The Son of No One  Pretty boy, Channing Tatum, stars as a young cop assigned to the neighborhood where he grew up, but there is a secret that could destroy him and his family.  Katie Holmes is in this film - my personal marker that this movie is going to stink.   The Son of No One Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Rum Diary:  Contact Lens Technician

Flictionary (a Definition of a Film Term)  Sound Mixer:   An audio engineer who works with the Boom Operator.  Sound Mixers are responsible for all recording of sound on the set or on location.

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Secret World of Arrietty   Based on the beloved children’s book, The Borrowers, this animated film, from the makers of the Oscar-winning, Spirited Away, tells the story of the Clock family,  a very tiny family who lives in secret in another family’s home.  When the daughter, Arrietty, is discovered by the normal sized boy in the house, the Clocks’ world gets turned upside down.   The Secret World of Arrietty Website
Until Next Time!

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